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Appropriate Bike Shorts

Old 05-30-19, 09:46 AM
  #1  
bikeboy100
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Appropriate Bike Shorts

I am going to be attending a 70 mile ride on a Rail Trail. I have a '75 Raleigh Record that has been modified with more modern drive-train. I was told I need bike shorts because they are more tight fitting and thus improve circulation. I would like to get a pair of the baggy mountain bike shorts so I can have a place to put valuables (pockets), but was told they might not be the best for the longer rides. Thoughts? Any recommendations?
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Old 05-30-19, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by bikeboy100 View Post
I am going to be attending a 70 mile ride on a Rail Trail. I have a '75 Raleigh Record that has been modified with more modern drive-train. I was told I need bike shorts because they are more tight fitting and thus improve circulation. I would like to get a pair of the baggy mountain bike shorts so I can have a place to put valuables (pockets), but was told they might not be the best for the longer rides. Thoughts? Any recommendations?
Really??!? Ride whatever you find most comfortable. Mountain bike shorts will be fine.
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Old 05-30-19, 09:57 AM
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Either should be fine. I have both kinds and mountain bike seem a little more grippy on saddle and can snag on nose of saddle when getting on or off bike. But maybe that's just me. I'd just recommend buying a nicely made pair with a good chamois.
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Old 05-30-19, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by bikeboy100 View Post
I was told I need bike shorts because they are more tight fitting and thus improve circulation. I would like to get a pair of the baggy mountain bike shorts so I can have a place to put valuables (pockets), but was told they might not be the best for the longer rides. Thoughts? Any recommendations?
Improve circulation?

I have a pair of Zoic Black Market MTB shorts that I really like. They have a tight liner, to improve my circulation and lots of handy pockets.

Don't bother with cheap cycling shorts they won't last. E.g. my kids got me a pair of cheap local sports store branded shorts last Father's Day. One 35 mile ride and the chamois stitching failed. I was able to return them and use the credit towards a pair of decent Pearl Izumi shorts.
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Old 05-30-19, 10:32 AM
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2. 35 mile days?

A baggy outer and a supportive inner is often combined in a shorts made for cycling ..

Or you can get the 2 separately if you choose.. and wear one over the other..
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Old 05-30-19, 10:32 AM
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I wear lycra shorts with no padding and use leather saddles. I have done a handful of 100+ mile days in a row with that combination and mountain bike shorts (baggies). But, I'm conditioned to riding that way.
I'll never wear padded shorts ever again but that's just me.
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Old 05-30-19, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by bugs11 View Post
Improve circulation?
Maybe people told him tight shorts would make him more confident with his sex of choice, thereby inspiring him to circulate more.
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Old 05-30-19, 10:56 AM
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I just wear cargo shorts on long road/paved rail trail trips (usually 100+ miles). I just buy 'em cheap, and they're extremely handy because of the pockets. What I really like about them are the pockets that button so I can carry my wallet and keys at easy access without fear of them falling out while riding.

I have no idea why someone would even think tight clothing would improve circulation, that's ridiculous and would cause me not to give that person's advice in other areas much credit.

What kind of rail trail? They vary from single track rough to really wide paved paths.
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Old 05-30-19, 12:00 PM
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They were probably thinking of some type of compression wear, I do not have any but have been tempted to try them and see what the fuss is about.
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Old 05-30-19, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by zarbog View Post
They were probably thinking of some type of compression wear, I do not have any but have been tempted to try them and see what the fuss is about.
Things like TED hose and compression socks are used to keep blood from pooling, so in some sense, they enhance circulation. They have different uses/purposes, however:

https://hillcrestsouth.com/news/when...pression-socks

When I had my heart valve replacement surgery I woke up wearing TED hose because I was likely going to non-ambulatory for several days. Quite stylish, especially on a 25 Y.O. man. I was so happy that they let me take them home. So was the GF.
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Old 05-30-19, 12:25 PM
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for me, it took a few tries to finally settle on my go-to setup, which I'm very happy with on all day rides

thin lined trishorts Zoic Ether Cycling Shorts (no longer available on Amazon?) hmmm, these might be close 2XU Mens Active Tri Short

unlined MTB shorts Zoic Ether Cycling Shorts

this is what they look like IRL


reg. sizing, I use size 38" waist jeans but for these units I buy XXL cuz I'm 60 & weight 230, with a little bit extra in the belly.
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Old 05-30-19, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Things like TED hose and compression socks are used to keep blood from pooling, so in some sense, they enhance circulation. They have different uses/purposes, however:

https://hillcrestsouth.com/news/when...pression-socks

When I had my heart valve replacement surgery I woke up wearing TED hose because I was likely going to non-ambulatory for several days. Quite stylish, especially on a 25 Y.O. man. I was so happy that they let me take them home. So was the GF.
But that's to prevent blood from pooling in the extremities during relative inactivity, which is done by constricting somewhat blood flow into them and encouraging blood flow out. That's a whole lot different kettle of fish than binding up very active thigh and butt muscles. There's no danger of blood pooling there, and you want a lot of blood flowing in and out of them.

Tight shorts may have some benefits, but improving circulation just isn't plausible as one of them.
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Old 05-30-19, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Tight shorts may have some benefits, but improving circulation just isn't plausible as one of them.
Oh I agree. I was just trying to imagine why someone might think (albeit incorrectly) that bike shorts would do the same thing.
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Old 05-30-19, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by bikeboy100 View Post
I am going to be attending a 70 mile ride on a Rail Trail. I have a '75 Raleigh Record that has been modified with more modern drive-train. I was told I need bike shorts because they are more tight fitting and thus improve circulation. I would like to get a pair of the baggy mountain bike shorts so I can have a place to put valuables (pockets), but was told they might not be the best for the longer rides. Thoughts? Any recommendations?
What do you wear now on long rides?
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Old 05-30-19, 03:48 PM
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I've never felt that bike shorts do anything for circulation; the benefit is that a good chamois (not necessarily a thick or padded chamois) will help prevent saddle sores.
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Old 05-30-19, 05:09 PM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by bikeboy100 View Post
I am going to be attending a 70 mile ride on a Rail Trail. I have a '75 Raleigh Record that has been modified with more modern drive-train. I was told I need bike shorts because they are more tight fitting and thus improve circulation. I would like to get a pair of the baggy mountain bike shorts so I can have a place to put valuables (pockets), but was told they might not be the best for the longer rides. Thoughts? Any recommendations?
if ur not bashfull or embarrassed by ur package wear regular bike shorts...
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Old 05-31-19, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
I've never felt that bike shorts do anything for circulation; the benefit is that a good chamois (not necessarily a thick or padded chamois) will help prevent saddle sores.
I've never worn a chamois, and never had a saddle sore, even after rides of 11+ hours in a day.

Not saying you are wrong, just that they're not necessary for this for everyone.

If OP is comfortable in baggy shorts, it's not likely he's going to have problems if he increases mileage without buying expensive new clothes.
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Old 05-31-19, 05:43 AM
  #18  
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Wear whatever you want to wear based on your experience. Clothes while biking is part of the equipment and setup. Some people need or desire X while others Y. I used to wear bike shorts with a pad/chamois but over time they were causing more problems than they solved, mostly with moisture buildup and I no longer needed the padding effect for comfort. Now I wear regular athletic wicking underwear and regular shorts. Not all are the same and it took some experimenting but I know exactly what to look for now. I just did a 5 day 350 mile gravel trip, I packed a pair of road bike shorts just in case but did not need them. Again.... It depends on what works for YOU. There is no right or wrong.

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Old 05-31-19, 06:16 AM
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Club Ride MTB shorts with liner, quality made clothing that looks good and works on the bike, so you can get both kinds of circulation. I'm about to wear them every day for a 2 month tour through the Balkans, so yeah they are comfortable.
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Old 05-31-19, 06:51 AM
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Wear what is comfortable but need a good chamois which is the most important thing. I used to wear regular cycling shorts but have since switched to bibs. Never thought I would like them but won't wear anything else now.
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Old 05-31-19, 06:52 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by bikeboy100 View Post
I would like to get a pair of the baggy mountain bike shorts so I can have a place to put valuables (pockets), but was told they might not be the best for the longer rides. Thoughts? Any recommendations?
+1 pockets. I wear black golf pants with pockets and a gel seat on two of my three bikes. I commute 9 miles each way 3-4 days a week with a 20-40 mile weekend ride, and a 50-60 mile ride a couple times a year including gravel. No problems.
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Old 05-31-19, 07:59 AM
  #22  
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Shorts are a personal preference, so any of mountain bike shorts or road shorts or road bibs are fine or pretty much any other shorts that you are comfortable wearing on the bike.

(I often wear football (soccer) shorts, 3/4 training pants on cooler/sunnier days, but that's just me, from my footballing days I've still got lots of perfectly good shorts and training pants and even though I've been off the pitch for a while, they work for me.)

Wear what you want to wear, but most importantly, wear what *you* are comfortable wearing, and wear you HAVE worn.

The day of your 70 mile ride is *NOT* the day to ride with a new pair of shorts for the first time, new gloves for the first time, new shoes for the first time.

It's also not the day to put on new pedals for the first time (doesn't matter if you are switching to flats, clips, or clippless), or switch out where you store your water (down tube mount, seat tube mount, triathlon mount), etc etc etc....

It's also not the day to try new foods or drinks.

Never eaten a peanut butter sandwich? Then don't. Never tried Skratch Labs products? Then don't. Never drank Gatorade? Then don't.

(But the best peanut butter sandwich I ever ate was in the rain in Marshfield Hills.)

You don't want to discover that something you ate or drank is giving you stomach cramps (or worse) while riding.

If it's a supported ride, you WILL find products you have never eaten/drank at the rest stops. Resist. But if you are tempted to try something that you've always wanted to try, you may take it, but pack it away and try it another day.


(That said, jorts are probably not the best choice for long rides.)


Good luck!

-mr. bill
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Old 05-31-19, 08:00 AM
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The main point of cycle shorts is the pad which helps with saddle friction and can also help hold an anti-friction compound like chamois butt'r (put it on yourself and on the pad and bring more if its a hot day).

If you need that or not depends on you, your saddle, the distance, and the conditions. No doubt someone has done your ride in cutoff jeans.

I started out wearing cargo shorts over cycle shorts; eventually when out on more serious rides I'd take them off and just ride in the cycle shorts, as the cargo ones would get soaked with sweat and be no fun. I still wear them if I'm taking a train or something to the ride, and on rides with a longer passive train return will duck into the restroom, change to everyday undies and a dry tee shirt and wear the cargo shorts home (nothing like sitting under commuter train A/C for an hour and half after your body has shut down post exercise). Actually just bought a slightly oversize swim shorts I'll probably end up using for that pre- and post- ride purpose instead as they're thinner and should dry faster, just need to re-work the closure. Effectively that is not unlike your mountain bike shorts but in decently separable form. But MTB shorts are probably fine, unless you're rolling at roadie speeds where anything loose is annoying. (I'm unsure how the, er, support of MTB short liners compares to stand-alone bike shorts - I've tended to prefer the latter as I have to somewhat jump onto my particular cycle, but as I increasingly land on the pedals before saddle, adjustment becomes more possible)

Not having pockets does get annoying if you do something like stop at a convenience store, I actually keep meaning to rig up some kind of add-on pocket type of thing with a waistband clip for briefly keeping track of phone, wallet, etc. Traditional cycling jerseys have pockets on the back that solve this problem.

Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
Wear what you want to wear, but most importantly, wear what *you* are comfortable wearing, and wear you HAVE worn.
This. Test whatever you are going to wear first. Shorts are compact enough you can bring a pair and something else on a test ride; a while back I did a "brief" ride (26 miles) carrying my usual shoes because I thought a new pair I'd bought might be better; turns out they were but didn't want to waste an opportunity for an enjoyable ride if they weren't.

You don't mention what sorts of rides you've been doing recently, but it goes without saying, don't just jump into a 70 mile ride, preferably work up to it in reasonable steps. Personally I step up to the 48 mile length of my rail trail before I start planning longer trips (this spring, something like 8-17-22-24-25-33-48-48-63). A determined person with a high pain threshold may be able to just get on and painfully persist to slowly accomplish 70 miles despite no recent distance rides, but it won't be enjoyable.

Last edited by UniChris; 05-31-19 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 05-31-19, 08:20 AM
  #24  
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Another vote for MTB shorts with padded undershorts. Done thousands of miles with this combination.

For some reason, probably my weight, the padding on regular road bike shorts doesn't adequately cover the critical areas in back. These padded undershorts from Amazon are way better.
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Old 05-31-19, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Hokiedad4 View Post
For some reason, probably my weight, the padding on regular road bike shorts doesn't adequately cover the critical areas in back. These padded undershorts from Amazon are way better.
That same company makes a traditional stand-alone budget road bike short with the same pad. That said, it's possible that the way the shorts carry the pad may change how it works for you even when the pad itself is the same. And in traditional cycle shorts they have both an above-the-knee and a short-short; I have both but only wear the longer ones as the leg elastic on the shorter ones is too close to the saddle for my preference.
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